Fisher might be a possibility for Lakers

Fisher might be a possibility for Lakers

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By JOHN NADEL AP Sports Writer

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- The Lakers have a new young point guard and might be interested in bringing back one of their old point guards to give the rookie some guidance.

The Lakers took Georgia Tech's Javaris Crittenton with the 19th overall pick in the NBA draft last week -- the second straight year they've gone for a point guard in the first round. But they're in search of a veteran at that position, and Derek Fisher, who won three championships with the Lakers, is a possibility.

"We're looking around. Free agency is one way to address it. A trade is another way," general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday after Crittenton was introduced at a news conference at Lakers headquarters.

The Utah Jazz agreed to release Fisher from his contract Monday so he can concentrate on finding the best care for his 11-month-old daughter, who has cancer in her left eye.

"Yesterday is a new development that will be addressed as well," Kupchak said. "We don't know what Derek's intentions are. I really have not sat down and addressed the Lakers' needs in regard to Derek. Our prayers and best wishes are with Derek and his family."

Fisher said he wants to live in one of the six or seven cities being considered for Tatum's care. He didn't rule out playing for another NBA team, but emphasized that his daughter's health is his No. 1 priority.

Fisher played his first eight NBA seasons with the Lakers before signing as a free agent with Golden State after the 2003-04 season. The Warriors later traded him to Utah.

Both Fisher and Kobe Bryant began their careers in 1996, and they were close during their eight years as teammates.

Crittenton, a 6-foot-5, 198-pounder who turns 20 on New Year's Eve, averaged 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals in his one season at Georgia Tech.

"That one year I spent at Georgia Tech made me a better player, a better person," he said. "I'm confident. I feel like I have a lot to learn. This is a great organization to help me become a better player."

"You think of all the great players who have played for this organization -- from Magic (Johnson) to Kobe. I hope to play with Kobe. I hope whatever they need to keep him happens. I feel like I can get him the ball."

Bryant has expressed a desire to be traded, but the Lakers don't appear interested in granting his wish.

The Lakers signed Crittenton after the news conference, and he'll play with their Summer League team this month in Las Vegas.

Crittenton spoke briefly with Lakers coach Phil Jackson before meeting with the media.

"He's a legend. He coached Michael Jordan. He's coaching Kobe right now," Crittenton said.

When told Jackson was known to be tough on rookies, Crittenton replied: "That's fine with me. He's only going to make me a better player."

Crittenton was accompanied by his mother, Sonya Dixon, and 8-year-old sister, Shaniya Lee.

"I'm very excited," Ms. Dixon said. "I've never been to Los Angeles. I love Kobe, I love Phil Jackson. I think he's going to do well here.

"This is a perfect place for my son. He's a good kid. He's very competitive. Once he sets his mind to what he wants, he usually gets there."

Crittenton's mother said she planned to move to Los Angeles for at least a year "and get him adjusted."

Asked what advice his mother has given him, Crittenton replied: "Just to work hard, do all the things I've done to get me here, not be distracted by women, bright lights."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-07-03-07 1748MDT

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